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Dec 12, 2018

You are a gift in my life Feliz Navidad!

Our team  wishes you merry Xmas!
Our team wishes you merry Xmas!

Between Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holidays there is a growing feeling of gratefulness, isn’t there? At least I have this warm growing feeling of connection with the world. John Denver said “I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other. Everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life - whoever you are, whatever our differences” and as the year heads to its end, I feel this connection more and more, that everybody and everything around me is a gift. Some are teaching me, some are nurturing me, some are compelling me to grow, but most of all I feel that there is so much love that surrounds us, so much good in the world, so many wonderful people undertaking huge projects to help children, to help those that have less, to protect the environment or to simply be a good human being, a good Samaritan, a good parent, a good citizen, a good example. I am grateful seeing all the wonderful people working hard to make a better world.  With so much love in this time of the year, I must express how thankful I am for you and people like you that supports us with their love, their ideas, their work and their financial support.

We are just part of a big chain of people, people all over the world trying to make this world a better place, for all of us and the rest of creatures that coexist with us. And here are some of our achievements:

  • Our sea turtle project relocated 81 nests in the turtle hatchery in 2018.
  • 4,171 sea turtle hatchlings have been released to the ocean, during this season.
  • 6 Drake Bay schools have received environmental education in 2018, more than 30 sessions implemented, which have reached a total of 155 students. Lot less that last year due to the Ministry of Education 5 months general strike.
  • 60 children from 4 environmental groups from Drake Bay participated in a total of 111 extracurricular activities. These workshops are really important for these children since these are the only extracurricular activities that are available in their communities. Together children learn about arts, write their own plays and make their costumes, recycle, organize beach clean ups, and find their voice in their community.
  • 32 girls and boys from Drake Bay participated in 3 tours whale watching tours and a tour to the Corcovado National Park overnight tour.
  • A resident Birds Festival organized together with the Guides Association of Drake Bay
  • A play prepared by the children of Drake Bay, regarding how humans need to protect their ecosystems, presented at the Regional Arts Student Festival and the Mangroves Festival in Sierpe.
  • Active participation in the Single Use Plastic Committee, which has managed to include a clause in the Municipality's regulations requiring companies to eliminate the use of single use plastic from their operations in order to obtain their permits.
  • 26 companies informed in Drake Bay of the importance of disposing of single-use plastic.
  • 3 familiarization tours with Drake entrepreneurs to promote the rural tourism projects of Rancho Quemado and Progreso and 23 talks held to promote rural community tourism within Drake's businesses.
  • 4 Christmas parties held for 4 schools in Drake Bay, 116 gifts distributed to the boys and girls of Drake Bay.
  • 12 business plans prepared for community rural tourism companies in La Amistad International Park.
  • An emergency plan prepared for the Cabecar trail in La Amistad International Park, which will help the community obtain its use permit and receive a direct benefit from the protected area.
  • 20 MINAE employees and 10 members of the communities of the La Amistad Pacifico Conservation Area trained in the design, construction and management of trails by the Colorado State University.
  • 40 people from the communities surrounding La Amistad International Park trained in business administration, accounting, labor code, social networks and other topics related to the development of business initiatives.
  • Tourism and environmental education plans elaborated for Carara Los Quetzales and La Cangreja National Parks.
  • 14 infrastructure plans prepared for protected areas throughout the country.
  • Delimitation plan for Hitoy Cerere national park elaborated.

That is a lot of work! But this letter can only be so long! I am very proud of our team, through mud and under the rain they leave their houses to work with the children of Drake to light up their little faces with smiles and their brains with ideas of conservation, they go out in the middle of the night to protect little turtles, or get up at 4:00 in the morning to be in a meeting on the other side of the country! They are the engine of this organization and I thank them all for their commitment and dedication.

Our donors, volunteers and members are the driving force behind our environmental efforts.  Your passion to protect the rainforest and to make a better world is key to maintain our work.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, happy New Year and may 2019 be full of health, peace and love for all!

Alejandra Monge

Executive Director

Corcovado Foundation

from our office:  Merry Xmas!
from our office: Merry Xmas!
Our volunteers at work
Our volunteers at work
Our seaturtle conservation team
Our seaturtle conservation team
sunset
sunset
one of the 4171 hatchlings we released this year
one of the 4171 hatchlings we released this year
Dec 10, 2018

Transparency is about informing bad news too.

Fallen footing
Fallen footing

I guess not all news can always be good news. If you are transparent, you need to share also your challenges and unfortunately, I have bad news: one of the bridge footings of the El Progreso Project succumbed to the flooding waters of the river. This area received more rain this last two years than ever seen before, I guess the impact of climate change. 

Some members of El Progreso community and the Corcovado Foundation faced the challenge of doing something no one had dared to: build a pedestrian bridge on the Drake River, on the road between Progreso and Drake. Nobody has dared to do it, because the river is more than 300 feet wide and its waters have changed course several times. For years the community has faced the limitations that this river presents to them. Many times local people have to cross this river with the water up to their chest to make it to the other side, where the clinic, the high school and the main stores are. I have witnessed mothers carrying their toddlers on their shoulders to take them to the doctor and high schoolers holding hands trying to make it to the other side to go to school.  So although it was a huge challenge, as a non profit organization that pushes for the socioeconomic development in the area as a way to alleviate the pressure upon the national resources, we decided we needed to do something. The process has been long, we have raised about $30,000 USD, but that is not enough and in order to stretch the funds as much as possible we have been waiting for the donation of the engineering services... which has delayed us.

We had built the foundations on both sides of the river. But, these lasts rainy seasons have proven to be stronger than anything we have seen before and after the October rains this year it was obvious that we needed to put gabions on the bridge or risk the river to wash the whole thing away. So we asked the engineers for an appropriate design and we were waiting. But in the middle of November after a winter in which we had an amount of rainfall without precedent, one of the bases of the bridge collapsed.   Luckily, we had not put any additional materials on the bridge. So most of the money and the materials are still there.  

When this base was built the first time, the location was established with the support of people who have lived in the town for many years, it was located as far away from the river as possible, without invading private property. We are concerned that to locate the foundation again in a place where the river no longer reaches, we would have to cross the threshold of private property. We have not surrendered! We are working with a structural engineer that can make us a proposal that adapts to the conditions of the area and that gives us at least the possibility of crossing on foot. But we are evaluating all viable options.

There will be more news to come soon, as we regroup and figure out how to get this done with the new conditions: less money and more pressure from the river. It is a challenge, but we will face it.   Hopefully, you guys will have our back, as you had in the past. Thank you for your support and your contributions. We are welcoming any ideas that could help us figure out how to this this better.


Attachments:
    Nov 27, 2018

    "Idle hands are the devil's workshop"

    Children learning as they play
    Children learning as they play

    Most children in Costa Rica have been absent from school since September. A government general strike deescalated later only to schools and high schools. Almost 1 million children and teenagers are supposed to be in school, but instead they are sitting at home, watching TV at best.  This is the same situation for schools in the Osa Peninsula, but worse.  Kids in the Osa Peninsula were already behind the general education standard. Many teachers in these schools are often absent for personal reasons or weather limitations, leaving the kids with 4 or 3 days of school, instead of the 5 normal days. Now, they have no school at all.

    Unfortunately, these children are the ones that need a good school the most. They lack educational opportunities: there are no museums, libraries or theaters around, and their parents cannot complement the absence of education, because they also had limited access to it. 

    Students who frequently miss school are less likely to adopt the behaviors and social norms that employers, colleges and law enforcement may expect, experts say. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/09/long-term-consequences-of-missing-school/498599/.   “Absence is often associated with low supervision … and alienation or detachment from conventional institutions,” said Patrick H. Tolan, the director of Youth-Nex, a center at the University of Virginia that conducts research on factors influencing youth development.

    Our organization has been working hard to help mitigate the impact of this void left by education. \

     

    • While we could, we reached 103 students in 5 schools to talk about plants and trees.
    • After the schools definitely closed, we held 4 activities with 40 kids to talk about local fauna and to study the trap cameras that we located on a nearby property.  We have also held 42 environmental workshops with 40 kids to talk about solid waste, ecosystems, seaturtles.
    • We also had three whale watching trips with 31 kids and 6 adults and we went camping with 11 kids from the community.

    They say “fac et aliquid operis, ut semper te diabolus inveniat occupatum” or ”Idle hands are the devil's workshop”. So, we are doing everything we can to keep these kids busy and stimulated! Thanks to you support, we are making this possible. Take a look at our facebook page to see pictures about the work we do with all these kids. https://www.facebook.com/funcorco/ and please keep supporting us @globalgiving.

    Children learning about the forest
    Children learning about the forest

    Links:

     
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